A number of veterans who served their time in an active line of duty may have experienced some form of exposure to hazardous chemicals. It has the potential to cause severe skin conditions that can lead to health complications.
As a result, the question of VA disability for skin conditions arises. The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) institutes VA disability claims for veterans. VA disability ratings for skin conditions, however, vary depending on the type of condition that the veteran may have experienced.
Assisting you with your VA claims is the goal of Just4Veterans, and as an extension of our service, we aim to supply you with the proper knowledge on your eligibility. For VA disability for skin conditions, it is essential to understand the common skin conditions that veterans may have contracted during service. Read on below to know more.
What are the common skin conditions in veterans?
The rating for skin conditions utilizes the formula for the VA General Rating. The VA checks the appropriate diagnostic codes that align with your skin conditions. Each category differs depending on the specific or entire body area that has been impacted. The following skin conditions are listed:
- Eczema is a generalized skin irritation that can result in redness, blisters, rashes, swelling, and dry skin.
- Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition in which skin cells grow at an abnormally fast rate. The cells clump together to form thick scales and silvery or white patches, which can occasionally affect the nails or joints. Psoriasis, like eczema, is thought to be caused by a malfunctioning immune system and can be triggered by illness or stress.
- Scars and disfigurement are injuries sustained by veterans while serving in the military.
- Skin cancer may vary and can have different forms, but its common risk factor is excess exposure to UV radiation, which is typical for veterans who bask in the sun without UV protection.
Can you get VA benefits for these skin conditions?
These skin conditions are common among veterans and are eligible for VA benefits. The amount of skin affected determines the VA rating for skin conditions. The rating schedule provides two methods for calculating and estimating the amount of skin that is affected.
Skin area calculations take the affected surface area (inches squared) into account. Skin area estimations, on the other hand, take into consideration the percentage, or amount, of skin that is affected.
VA Disability for Eczema
Eczema is not one illness with a set of recognizable symptoms. Eczema comes in a variety of forms, but they are all thought to be brought on by an overactive immune system, which results in itchy, inflamed skin. There may be an all-over red, scaly rash, and patients regularly itch. If you have the symptoms, you might be qualified for an eczema VA rating.
VA Disability for Psoriasis
Psoriasis as a military disability requires extreme treatment. Treatment options for psoriasis include topical ointments and immunosuppressive medications. A psoriasis VA rating is associated with diagnostic code 7816, which is specific to the ailment. The basic skin rating formula is used to assess it, but any related issues, such as psoriatic arthritis, are addressed with different diagnostic codes.
Furthermore, psoriasis is also a disqualifying measure for recruits if they have the condition beforehand. You cannot join the military if you have psoriasis unless you sign a medical waiver.
VA Disability for Scars and Disfigurement
Scars from injuries or illnesses sustained during military service may qualify you for service-connected disability compensation because scars are considered disfiguring. The percentage rating is gauged by the location and size of the scars. Besides on the face, neck, or head, scars are commonly rated according to how much skin has been lost and how many facial characteristics have been altered. For instance, a veteran is given a 10% rating since a scar on the nose barely affects a small section of the face. Higher scores are given to service-related disabilities with more severe symptoms.
VA Disability for Skin Cancer
The VA disability rating for skin cancer is divided into two categories: non-lethal basal and squamous cell carcinomas (7818) and potentially lethal malignant melanoma. Some studies indicate that while there was no increased incidence of melanoma in veterans exposed to Agent Orange or orange skin conditions, they did acquire basal or squamous cell carcinoma. On the other hand, military service and sun exposure have been related to skin malignancies including melanoma.
Recovery from skin conditions requires proper diagnostics, and medications. Some skin conditions are treated with cosmetic procedures, however is it possible to claim your VA benefits for cosmetic procedures?
Can you claim your VA benefits for cosmetic procedures?
The majority of cosmetic procedures are not eligible for VA disability claims. This is because the DVA rewards veterans inflicted with skin conditions that have a direct impact on their service. Hence, cosmetic procedures are not a priority for VA disability claims. Nevertheless, depending on the circumstances, there are occasional exceptions. Here are a few examples.
It is the only type of cosmetic surgery that may be rated. However, the VA disability rating does not warrant the actual cosmetic procedure. So instead, it is the scarring or disfigurement that is rated.
Some conditions or Side Effects that may have been the Result of Military Cosmetic Procedure
The VASRD has a principle that if the condition was treated outside of the military medical plan in any circumstances, it is not ratable. Unless the procedure calls for a referral outside the military system, so, for example, if you had a cosmetic procedure done outside of the military system without a referral, the process and any complications that resulted are not ratable. However, if the cosmetic procedure is performed within the military medical system and results in severe side effects, these can be rated because the side effects were inflicted by the military system.
Filing a VA claims for Skin Conditions
If you have skin conditions as a result of active duty in your service, then you are entitled to compensation. VA claims can be challenging due to some symptoms that may overlap, but Just4Veterans is here to guide you!
After you served our country, it is now our turn to serve you. If you have any further questions, please email us at [email protected].
If you need assistance claiming your VA benefits, you can also schedule a FREE strategy call session with our friendly veteran coaches by clicking this link.